Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Alyssa has headphones she wears almost constantly when she’s using her tablet so that we don’t have to hear one more song by Pentatonix and she can listen to ALL THE SONGS by Pentatonix.

These headphones seem to be noise blocking as well as music producing. We can talk to her from just across the room and she won’t seem to hear anything at all.

Tom has a booming voice. He should have been a college professor so he could give lectures in one of those huge rooms with stadium seating. He wouldn’t have even needed a microphone to be heard at the very top corner of one of those rooms.

And yet, he needs to raise his voice when he speaks to Alyssa while she’s wearing her headphones.

Last night, he called her name twice and she finally responded with, “What?”

Her tone wasn’t disrespectful or curt. She was just letting him know she’d heard him and was ready to hear whatever else he had to say.

But her “What?” bothered him. Let’s all remember that he was born in the early sixties to much older parents (that happens when you’re the eleventh of thirteen children) so he was probably raised by parents who were my grandparents’ ages.

I laughed at him (in a kind way! Sheesh.) and told him that it was a generational thing. Alyssa looked confused so I told her a story my mom used to tell me and my brothers.

My mom grew up on Mississippi. She was twelve when her parents moved her and her nine siblings to Northwestern Ohio. Her older two siblings stayed in the Tennessee/Mississippi area.

Her mother was very big on enforcing respect around her house. If she called one of her children’s name, that child was NOT to reply with, “What?”

They were supposed to acknowledge their mother with, “Ma’am?”

According to my mom, she was the worst culprit of the “What?” response. And whenever she said that to her mother, my grandma would ask sharply, “What did you say?”

At that point, my mom would come back with, “Ma’am?”

Then, my mom reports, she’d walk away from her mother saying under her breath, “What, what, what, what.”

So apparently kids being annoyed by their parents’ antiquated rules is nothing new.

Tom decided that since her tone was mild and not disrespectful, Alyssa hadn’t actually done anything wrong. Which…okay. I mean, she’s thirteen, gets excellent grades, chooses to spend time with her family and spends all her electronic time searching for acapella groups. I think we can let a few ‘whats’ slide, since, well, we never actually TOLD her that she isn’t allowed to reply with “What?” when we call her name.

Hello, welcome to the twenty-first century. I was a child of the late twentieth century and I never had to reply to my mom’s calls with anything other than a respectful, “What?”

So that’s settled. Whew.

The headphones though…ha! Apparently, they don’t block nearly as much sound as we’d thought. It seems Miss Lyss really is a teenage with selective hearing.

Later that same evening, when Tom asked her, in a purely conversational tone (rather than his usual lecturing tone) if she was ready for ice cream, Alyssa replied with a quick, “Sure.”

Ha! When it’s in her best interest, that girl can hear perfectly well, even when she’s wearing headphones and blasting a Pentatonix song.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Ha! We were on vacation with another couple and he's in the military and they are both from the South. The mom yelled down to all three kids to tell them to come upstairs and Riley responded with "What??" And the mom got VERY huffy until she realized it wasn't her child who said that. I said, "Well, at least Riley responded." HAHA. But yes, she expected her child to say "ma'am".